A lot of things haven't worked so well in Tampa Bay this season, but nothing has fallen flatter on its face than the Buccaneers run game.
Somehow, despite pretty significant offseason changes, the Bucs run game is worse than it was last year. There are number of different factors that seem to have played a roll in this, but the most frustrating part is Dave Canales insistence on trying to get it going at seemingly all costs.
Like clockwork, the Bucs have followed up big plays through the air with feeble attempts on the ground. Rachaad White has demonstrated he's a good offensive weapon, and there's some talent on the offensive line, but things just aren't working no matter how hard the coaching closes its eyes and wishes it would get better.
For anyone hoping things will change, Dave Canales continued to dig in when talking to the media head of Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Dave Canales explains why the Bucs won't give up on the run game
Canales was explaining how to approach playing the 49ers, given his years of experience coaching against them in Seattle, and brought up Bucs struggling run game. He wasn't dismissive of it, rather he tried giving some insight into why the offense continues to rely on running the ball when it's clearly not working.
“There’s a style that you have to play these guys. Again, it’s like, if you’re going to try and make it a dropback game from snap one, good luck. It’s why we build the offense the way we do, so that you can have a chance to beat these really special defenses by being able to be balanced, mixing it the right way with the run game and the [play-]actions, the quick game, the empty stuff," Canales said.
You read that right, Canales used the run game and the offense's approach to it as a reason the Bucs can pull off an upset on Sunday.
As great as that all sounds, the Bucs have yet to beat one of those special defenses using the run game. Philadelphia destroyed Tampa Bay, and the offense produced a meager six points against Detroit. The Bucs have only managed to score more than 20 points three times this year, none against a Top 5 defense -- which is what the 49ers are.
Tampa Bay's destruction of New Orleans is the closest, as the Saints rank No. 10 in overall defense, but the run game was hardly a factor in that win.
Canales is going to die on a hill trying to get the run game going, that much has been made abundantly clear. It's very basic football stuff to say the run game needs to get going to get the passing game going, except the Bucs have managed to do that despite the run game being so terrible.
Mike Evans is on pace for over 1,300 yards this year despite the passing game not being relied on as it should. That right there tells you something, but Bucs fans seem doomed to forever watch the offense try and fail to get a nonexistent run game going.